CSA O86 Engineering design in wood

The National Building Code of Canada (NBC) contains requirements regarding the engineering design of structural wood products and systems. The CSA O86 standard is referenced in Part 4 of the NBC and in provincial building codes for the engineered design of structural wood products. The first edition of CSA O86 was published in 1959, with ten subsequent revisions and updates to the standard, with the most recent edition published in 2014, with updates in 2016 and 2017.

CSA O86 provides criteria for the structural design and evaluation of wood structures or structural elements. It is written in the limit states design (LSD) format and provides resistance equations and specified strength values for structural wood products, including: graded lumber, glued-laminated timber, cross-laminated timber (CLT), unsanded plywood, oriented strandboard (OSB), composite building components, light-frame shearwalls and diaphragms, timber piling, pole-type construction, prefabricated wood I-joists, structural composite lumber (SCL) products, permanent wood foundations (PWF), and their structural connections.

The CSA O86 provides rational approaches for structural design checks related to ultimate limit states, such as flexure, shear, and bearing, as well as serviceability limit states, such as deflection and vibration. The CSA O86 also contains strength modification factors for behaviour related to duration of load, size effects, service condition, lateral stability, system effects, preservative and fire-retardant treatment, notches, slenderness, and length of bearing.

Structural design of wood buildings and components is undertaken using the loads defined in Part 4 of the NBC and the material resistance values obtained using the CSA O86 standard. Housing and other small buildings can be built without a full structural design using the prescriptive requirements outlined in Part 9 ‘Housing and Small Buildings’ of the NBC.


For further information, refer to the following resources:

Wood Design Manual (Canadian Wood Council)

Introduction to Wood Design (Canadian Wood Council)

National Building Code of Canada

CSA O86 Engineering design in wood